Is it time to drop the GPS and go SmartPhone?

Discussion in 'GPS 101 - Which GPS For Me' started by deacon51, Sep 22, 2017.

  1. deacon51

    deacon51 Been here awhile

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    So, I've been running GPS units on my bikes for over a decade now. And we all know that smart phones don't work without cell service and we all know that the best places to ride don't have cell service... so a dedicated GPS unit that cost at least $500 USD is the only solution.

    So, what do we really get for our $500+ bucks? Here the features listed for a Zumo 595 with a MSRP of $800 and mu comments ...
    • Display resolution, WxH: 800 x 480 pixels - Phone has much higher resolution
    • Transflective display - Whatever that means
    • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery - Phone has a rechargeable battery too
    • Battery life up to 4 hours - Phone last about the same with GPS running and the screen lit
    • IPX7 waterproof rating - Current Phones are also IPX7 and if not you can get a case.
    • High-sensitivity receiver - whatever that means.
    • Headphone jack/audio line-out- Phone too
    • Maps & Memory - Okay, traditionally at the end of the day, this has been the winner for GPS, but now apps let you download and save maps on your phone
    • Preloaded street maps - see above, and for daily Navigation, a Smartphone is smarter
    • Includes lifetime map updates - Phone have continuous map updates.
    • nüMaps Guarantee - whatever, Google maps have never let me down.
    • Built-in internal solid state memory - Phone too... is this really a "Feature"
    • Accepts microSD data cards (not included) - (Some) phone too.
    • Custom POIs (ability to add additional points of interest)- Phone too
    • Ability to save 1000 waypoints/favorites/locations - that's all?
    • Speaks street names (e.g. "Turn right ON ELM STREET in 500 ft.")- Phone too
    • Lane assist (guides to proper lane for navigation)- Phone too
    • Junction view (displays junction signs) - Ever heard of Ways?
    • Route avoidance (avoid highways, tolls etc.) -Phone too
    • Bluetooth wireless technology- Phone too
    • Speed limit indicator (displays speed limit for most major roads in the U.S. and Europe) - Ways tells me were the cops are! (With a data connection)
    • View upcoming points of interest along route - my phone does that
    • MP3 player- I've never used this... never.
    • Trip Planner -
    • Trip Log
    • Tire pressure monitor system will support up to 4 tires (individual sensors sold separately)
    • Dual orientation display
    • Garmin Adventurous Routing
    • Streaming Spotify & Pandora music/media players
    • Smart notifications - My Garmin has been bitching about "Small Craft Advisory" for like a year.
    • LiveTrack - Phone, and Spot
    • Compatible with Smartphone Link - My phone is a Smartphone
    • Live traffic and live weather via Smartphone Link app - Why not just use the Smartphone?
    • Rider alerts - There's an app for that
    • Helmet Law notifications - ATGATT
    • 3D Terrain - Phone too
    • Round Trip - Phone too
    • Service History Log - App for that.
    • VIRB Control - App for that
    • Track Support - I don't know what this is.
    • Custom Map Support - Phone too
    • TOPO Map Support - Phone too
    • Pandora Support (with compatible phone) - Why not just use the phone.
    • Removable Battery - Some phones, but so...
    I do use my current GPS unit to control my phone, answer calls, and I build routes in Basecamp
    But this year I've been using Rever more than I've been building routes. And Ways is just easier for daily navigation from Point A to Point B. And new bikes are starting to integrate Phone Pairing into the handlebar controls. As I'm looking at the 2018 KTM R1290 SAR, and trying to decide the best way to mount my GPS and phone... I've started to realize that the GPS on my bike is almost as useless as the one in my Pick-up.

    Thoughts? Am I missing something?
    #1
  2. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

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    You're going to get lots of replies like:
    I don't need cell service!
    Smartphone can do everything your gps can do and better.
    Bla bla etc etc.

    Yes it's true, there are tons of apps and such.
    But what few will really admit is it takes a little more effort (ok maybe a lot more effort) to get it all done on your phone.
    I'll get a bunch of hate mail for those statements.

    But for some of us, the gps is just simpler. I tried a smartphone then the micro USB port broke, it took more effort to use ( especially being a touch screen) while wearing gloves.
    Then there's water! Oh shit, the last straw was when I went down in a stream crossing. I should have gone around it was a high water day with swift current.
    But the result was a dead wet phone. Meanwhile my 10+ year old trusty 60CSX is still water tight and working after that same dunk (up to 3 feet deep for 30 min according to Garmin spec).

    So I'm back to the simple camp of using my old 60CSX - rain or shine with gloves on and the water tight 4 pin power port.

    Some of us just prefer a simpler way.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #2
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  3. webmonstro

    webmonstro A Aventura Continua....

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    Ok
    No cell connection needed for GPS - but i bet you allready know that
    -Use a dedicated waterproof rugged android phone with external power connection (I havent used the usb port at all for months, as i only use it on the bike and data transfers is done automaticly synced by wifi)
    -Use offline downoaded Maps and Pois like your garmin has

    As for GPS is simpler, well if you already use a Garmin then you will need to lear the smartphone apps, but if you are starting from scratch then the learning curve is about the same .

    Setting up the whole kit (PHONE + Mount+ power supply) will be more work on the phone option, but much less expensive

    Then you get all the other stuff a smartphone can do for free
    #3
  4. EnduroRdr

    EnduroRdr Woods Racer & D/S Rider

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    Webmonstro is right.
    I'm not the best example for a case study, but I can probably group it by age.
    If your under 50yo then it's pretty easy peasy and probably natural on the phone. At almost 60 the learning curve gets slower for me.
    Once I mastered mapsource it was just hard to move on.


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    #4
  5. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    This thread sort of parallels "Which is a Better GPS: the Garmin Montana or a Smartphone?". Time for a merge?
    #5
  6. Unstable Rider

    Unstable Rider Farto Motografist

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    LOCUS
    #6
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  7. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    if you want to, you can run just the GPS antenna, and turn off others. it will work where ever you go except under ground. see Osmand / Locus / smartphone as GPS -threads.

    the Duraforce XD is pretty popular/cheap right now.
    #7
  8. DRONE

    DRONE Dog Chauffeur

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    I don't understand Post #1. :dunno

    He starts out by titling this thread, "Is it time to drop the GPS and go SmartPhone?" The answer to that is obviously, "No, it was time, what, about three years ago?

    Then he says, "And we all know that smart phones don't work without cell service . . ." when in fact we all know exactly the opposite. I mean, jeez, how many smartphone - sat/nav threads are there? I looked a moment ago and there are 10 threads just on Page 1 of GPS 101 and 10 more on Page 1 of Mapping & Navigation concerning smartphones and sat/nav apps. Just on Page 1!

    Maybe I'm just too old and don't understand you young kids anymore. Is this sarcasm? Is this supposed to be a joke thread? I don't know. Like I said, I just don't get it.

    #8
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  9. worwig

    worwig Long timer

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    Yes, you ARE missing a BIG piece of information.
    Cell phone GPS, is a REAL GPS receiver. You do NOT need a cell tower connection for it to work.
    Repeat, you do NOT need cell service.
    Yes, a number of apps use online maps and those need a connection. But there are DOZENS of apps that let you load the actual map data onto the phone at home or wifi or even a cable. Then you can turn off the cell radio completely and use the GPS.
    #9
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  10. deacon51

    deacon51 Been here awhile

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    I posted because I've been using GPS for many years. I still have my Garmin GPS V, I loved that thing. - but all three of the bikes I'm looking at for next year have smartphone integration. Multistrada Enduro, 1290 SuperAdventure R, and it looks like even the upcoming R1200GS with TIF display. Currently, I ride a 2014 R1200GS with a Nav V. I like the Nav V. I like having the map right in front of me. I like having the bike information right in front of me. So, I was looking at what GPS / Mount to get for the new bike. BMW of course will still have the integrated GPS mount, but the other two (And i'm 99% sure it's going to be the SuperAdventure R) don't. Of course I could get a mount and transfer the Nav V to any bike, but I also need a phone mount. Then I got to thinking about my uses. A bike with integrated Bluetooth and an app like Multistrada Link or KTM My Ride lets me do everything from the bar controls that my Nav V does now. Answer (or decline) calls, control music, review bike information and performance data. And to tell the truth, that's all I use the Nav V for these days. If I need to get from point A to Point B, Google Maps and Ways are way better than the Garmin. I don't sit down at BaseCamp for hours mapping out routes anymore. I use Rever and/or my Spot to record my trips. Even hiking, I don't carry a GPS anymore, just the phone and AllTrails app. So, maybe it's time for to give up the GPS and save the money.
    #10
  11. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    do you mean handle bar controls or bike info on the screen?

    I've always wondered which manufacturer would jump ahead and make a kick ass navigation application, that showed everything the bike sensors could read, and you could carry bike to bike, phone to phone...

    it would be pretty cool to snap the "dash" from the dirt bike into the street bike, then into the cars dash, and has it all work as well as say.... that slick Tesla ui.
    #11
  12. deacon51

    deacon51 Been here awhile

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    It looks like they are getting closer. The TIF Display on both the Duc and the KTM are amazing and the cell phone integration provides some amazing data. It looks like Boch will be the TIF display provider for all three (Ducati, BMW, KTM), as well as the provider for all the sensors that are providing this data. I don't know of a way to do it, but it doesn't see far fetched to think that you can overlay that data on you GPS track. Now add in the footage from your action cam and you would have some pretty amazing data.
    #12
  13. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    I haven't seen them, but I hope it's better than the recent years in dash car navigation units. they're terrible, tons of bad user interface choices, slow startup, archaic steps to do simple things.... anyway, ya I hope they have an api
    #13
  14. DaMonk45

    DaMonk45 I B Da Monk

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    oh they will, but it will be using garmin info with all the UI tricks they learned from basecamp.
    :hide
    #14
  15. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    evil
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  16. PittsDriver

    PittsDriver Been here awhile

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    I'm thinking: why not run them side by side for a season and see. Anyone that's followed a track through the woods knows that it's a pain to have the map zoomed in far enough to know which road to take at that 5 way intersection and yet zoomed out to see where you are in context. With the BMW Nav and wonder wheel, it's a passable solution to have just one device. But when I move that GPS onto other bikes, it's a real pain. I've been thinking for a while now that I should just run two GPSs, one zoomed in close and one zoomed out for context. So why not make that second one my phone running one of the many apps and start getting used to it? No reason to switch when you can run both.
    #16
  17. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    not needed. YES go try it lout for yourself,
    there are auto zoom features in applications. I use it on dual sport rides, and realized when I had the 60cx and Oregon 450 why so many standalone owners ran two units:
    they suck at keeping up with the action
    #17
  18. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    I found a combination of the screens, font size, and uncontrolled zoom function on phone units made reading road names very difficult. Add the situation with touchscreens requiring special gloves, two finger zoom while riding, difficult. My NAV VI works well for me. Road names are easy to read. It announces upcoming intersections also. I have 1bike. In the woods it may be different. YMMV.
    #18
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  19. scfrank

    scfrank Old farts riding club.

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    I understand. I can see this coming for me also. I still have issues reading the screen on the phone though. Hiking, you can stop and look at it, on the bike the NAV is much more readable.
    #19
  20. ohgood

    ohgood Just givver tha berries !!!

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    1 screen size is easily fixed, buy a larger screen. Walmart has 5" screen phones for $38
    2 here is an example of user controllable speed-zoom functions:
    Screenshot_2017-10-13-11-18-46.png Screenshot_2017-10-13-11-18-53.png

    but I normally just follow the pre planned route instead of trying to pick and match road names between the unit and the signage:
    Screenshot_2017-10-13-11-21-28.png
    that is one of the main functions of a gps guidance after all.... you don't have to look for street names.

    3 my gloves work fine with the touch screens. I won't be attempting to change waypoint names or other fine-text input, but for pinch/zoom/pan it's plenty sensative.

    4 I don't interact with the GPS while riding. one of my rules.

    5 see above.

    6 hmm, I don't think I've ever wanted to be told that the intersection names as approaching. normally I'm just waiting for MY turn to be announced. lane usage is nice though, I'll agree about that.

    7 in the woods, there are no roads (normally ) but if there are, they are not normally going to be accessed with turn by turn directions. I'll just look at the track when I get to the trail head.
    #20